Questions about engagement session attire is one of the most frequent emails I get. Between wanting to make sure you pick something that photographs well and scrolling perfectly curated Instagram feeds, I understand how overwhelming it can be!
So, I’m here to help. I want you to wear what you want and what you both feel comfortable in, but I know that needs a little more guidance so here goes!
Comfort. This is so important. If something doesn’t fit well, you’ll be pulling at it and readjusting it the whole time. This will read on your face. Do you want to do photos in various locations around downtown? Bring comfortable shoes and change into your heels when we stop. He’s really not a guy that likes dressing up but agreed to for some ‘fancier’ photos? Go with a jacket but forego the tie. Your comfort is so important to me and directly affects the flow of the session and in turn, how you look in your images.
Staying with comfort, consider the weather. If it is a million degrees outside, wear something light and breathable. If it’s winter and your heart is set on a dress, maybe we rent a studio to shoot in, like Locust + Vine, my personal favorite. (This is also where I’ll note that the earlier you book with me, the more choosy you can be with what season to have your engagement session in.)
It was wicked hot the day we shot Matt and Courtney’s engagement session. Breathable clothes and flexibility on scheduling helped make them more comfortable for their session.
Be True To Yourself. Mental comfort is just as important as physical comfort. If you are downtowners, fashionistas, or spend your weekends at Keeneland, dress it! If you are a couple that spends most of your time on the river, like John and Laura, then we’ll photograph you on the river and your attire should fit. A tulle skirt and heels wouldn’t exactly work here.
Patterns and colors. This is where I mostly get asked for help. What color photographs best? Any patterns to stay away from? I get it. I do this a lot – you don’t! But I always tread carefully with this because it’s more important for us to figure out what colors or patterns you photograph the most confidently in because again, your face will tell how you feel during the session.
So while I won’t tell you to stay away from stripes or anything like that, I will give you these pointers on colors and patterns:
Don’t be afraid to coordinate!
Coordinating makes us think about big family photos where everyone is wearing blue jeans and white shirts, right? Yikes. So to avoid that, sometimes we go extreme in the other direction. Did you find a dress you love, like Lauren’s in the photo above? #unintentionalrhyme Simply choosing a tie for your fiancé that coordinates pulls your outfits together without looking overly matchy-matchy.
A dress like Lauren’s also works great because it has a pattern, which photographs beautifully in black and white.
Do not be scared of color! Courtney’s yellow dress gave me life so much so that I didn’t want to stop photographing her in it! A bold color, especially when paired with a partner in a subtle, patternless, clean look, creates memorable and beautiful images without being too busy.
What should our second look be?
Wardrobe Change. When Ryan and Lauren changed into their second outfits, they went from a shirt and tie/dress to jeans and more casual tops while still looking finished. Ryan got the pattern this time and Lauren’s outfit complimented (and her shoes added a bit of style that took her look to date-casual rather than just casual.). The both look comfortable, styled, and complimentary of the other!
Courtney and Matt changed to a more casual look too – his made him much comfortable in the summer heat and hers – cute sandals, cropped jeans, and a solid white shirt – still made a statement with her off the shoulders top. (As a note: Flexibility will always make your session better. We were planning for a later day session but Courtney and Matt met me at 9am to start so they could wear what they wanted but not melt on a day with a forecasted 97 degree high. I’ll never ask you to switch a time or day unless I know it will benefit you – so trusting me when I suggest a change is worth it!)
If you are having a wardrobe change, and are using it for a more every day look, still style it with accessories or a pattern/bold color, and still make sure your outfits compliment each other’s.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
Plan! Don’t stress or lose sleep over it – but plan your wardrobe. Your engagement session with me includes a planning call where we talk about location and wardrobe so tap into that – let me help! But as you plan, make sure you’re staying true to yourself, consider the weather, make sure you are comfortable in the clothes you’re wearing, don’t be scared of patterns, colors, or coordination, and remember that this is FUN! All of this advice isn’t to overwhelm you but to ensure that our time together is just about fun and happiness.
I can’t wait for your session!